Studying foreign languages is important for everybody. We have
many reasons to study them. We need it for travelling abroad, for
reading foreign materials (books, newspapers, magazines,
scientific materials), for business communication, for preparing
to futher studies, for corresponding with our friends or for
cultural reasons (watching films, visiting concerts and
exhibitions, understanding song's lyrics etc.).
The oldest language is Egyptian (5000 years old), the largest
number of people speak Chinese (about 700 million), but the most
important language for the world communication is English. We
come across English expressions more and more nowadays - in
technical and electronic scientific circles people use many
English abbreviations and expressions, computer programmes and
games are in English, English is spoken at every international
meeting participants, during sports matches, cups, championships
and the Olympic we hear mostly English.
This language is very popular and important now but we have
opportunities for studying other foreign languages. For
inhabitants of our country it is a necessity because only around
6 million people speak Slovak all around the world, that is why
we have to study foreign languages if we want to make ourselves
understood. In our country we study mainly German, French,
Spanish and Russian. We begin studying them at school. At eleven
we start with one foreign language and at the age of thirteen we
may start studying the second one, although there are many
elementary schools and even kindergartens with foreign language
teaching. There are even some secondary schools where students
study all subjects in foreign language.
In our school, English, German, French and Russian are taught.
For this reason we have furnished a language lab, where we have
many teaching aids such as dictionaries, cassette recorders,
projectors, overhead projectors, wall charts, maps, pictures etc.
We can also make use of native lecturers from America, Britain,
Canada or Australia.
Besides schools there are various language courses both for
children and adults, either state or private. There are also some
TV courses (Family Album, Muzzy in Gondoland, American English,
Business English) and many textbooks and cassettes from abroad
are available now. In bigger cities we can enroll to a language
school or we can take lessons from a private teacher.
It is very important to try to study foreign languages so that
people all around the world can understand one another. That is
why an artificial language appeared 100 years ago. It is called
esperanto but it is not a living language.
English at Work and Play
The modern world is a very small place. Travel and
communication are quicker and easier than ever before. Because of
this, more and more people need a common second language. For
millions that language is now English.
Politics: English is the language of summit' meetings
United Nations. Also, many foreign leaders speak in English to
Pop Music: Rock and roll began in America in the 1950s. Ever
since, English has been the language of rock and pop. In Japan,
for example, many of the most popular stars are British or
Computing: Silicon Valley is near the town of San Jose in
California. It's one of the world's top computer-science centres
and has more than 3000 companies. Because of its importance, a lot
of the vocabulary in modern computing is in American English.
TV and Film: America (and also Britain) export thousands of films
and TV programmes every year. These appear on screens all over the
world. Some countries show these films and programmes with
sub-titles(for example, in France, French dialogue appears at the
bottom of the screen). In other countries there are no
sub-titles. Instead, different actors speak the characters'
dialogue. This is called 'dubbing'.
Science and Medicine: Both of these subjects are now completely
international. That's because doctors and scientists everywhere
are trying to answer the same questions. The latest ideas in
medicine and science appear in special international magazines
called 'journals'. More than 60% of these are in English.
Business: Many European multi-national companies now use English
as a common language. Some, for example, have German, Spanish,
French and Italian workers. But they don't use four languages.
Instead, they use English for all their letters, telexes and
meetings. This saves a lot of time and money.
Air and Sea Travel: Every pilot and ship's captain has to speak
English. It's the language of the sky and the sea. There's even
an international travel alphabet. This makes communication by
radio as easy and clear as possible. Here's how it starts.
A for Alpha, B for Beta, C for Charlie, D for Delta ...
The Olympic Games: The International Olympic Committee' meets in
Lausanne. That's where the world's sporting leaders plan the
summer and winter Games. Two thousand years ago the language of
the Olympics was Greek. Today the official language of all I.O.C.
meetings is English.